Today you should read: Ezekiel 4
This chapter is the first of the next 20 chapters where God judges Jerusalem & Judah. You read that right, for the next 20 chapters you will read about God judging from within. In this specific chapter, God tells Ezekiel to enact out the judgement that will take place upon Israel, taking action speak louder then words to a whole other level (see v. 15). Before you take a “fast” from jumpstart over the next 20 days, let me encourage you that God’s judgment is not always a bad thing. In a day and age where “Only God Can Judge Me” is the number 1 tattoo and people around us say “Don’t judge me” as often as they say “Go Cats” or “I hate Christian Laettner.” And let’s be honest here, Christians haven’t had the best of stereotypes concerning this subject as well. If I had a quarter for every time I was called judgmental for calling sin for what it is according to the Bible (even in the most loving and gracious way) I’d probably be able to put all 4 of my kids through their future colleges. So why should we listen to what God has to say about judging the Israelites and ultimately us, as God’s people?
First, it’s not just an “Old Testament” thing that Jesus abolished or fulfilled. We see the apostle Paul talk about the importance of judgment within the church in 1 Corinthians 5:12-13:
12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13 God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”
This means that we should not only expect it and do it (once again in a loving and gracious way) but we need to expect it from God first. God loves the church. Jesus’ substitutionary atonement is looked upon as the ultimate picture of sacrificial love according to Ephesians 5 and His grace abounds. However it would be a cheap grace according to Dietrich Bonhoeffer if the church took advantage of that grace and never changed from it’s former ways. As we read about the sins and idolatry of the Israelites, we are reminded that judgment is deserved and just for such cheap grace. We are warned throughout the Scriptures that we should not judge the world and others before taking a hard look at ourselves but it should be expected and welcomed from God. Yet remember, our God is a loving, merciful and gracious God as well and that Jesus does stand in the way of that judgment before Him. However, like the Israelites, we need to reminded of who we are in light of who God is and these next 20 chapters will forewarn us of that before going too far into sin and idolatry as God’s beloved people.
Posted by: Erik Koliser